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Farmers should book now for West Midlands Potato Day!

3 August 2011

 

Potato growers should reserve their places soon at the West Midlands Potato Day 2011 – it could help them save £££, according to experts!
 
Rotation crops such as caliente mustard and radish could help potato growers improve and sustain yields – and therefore profits – on prime growing land, say agronomists Andrew Wade and Luke Hardy.
 
Results of their trials will be revealed in a workshop at this year’s West Midlands Potato Day on June 8 at Woodlands Farm, Weston-under-Lizzard, Staffordshire.
 
“We are seeing important yield increases resulting from improvements in soil structure, retention of essential nutrients and a reduction in the egg burden from potato cyst nematodes,” says Mr Wade, from crop management advice company Agrovista. “Without these additional measures, despite using standard granules to control PCN, prime growing land can become burdened with a high egg count that impacts on yield.”
 
At the event, growers will also be encouraged to quiz ADAS’s Martyn Silgram about how to reduce their phosphate losses by up to 60 per cent. Given that fertiliser prices have seen a year-on-year increase of 30 per cent, savings in this area are crucial, he says.
 
The innovative technique for reducing surface runoff using cultivated stubble and cover cropping has seen very encouraging results which he will present in his workshop.
 
Other topics include irrigation scheduling, including the pitfalls, with independent agronomist Denis Buckley and irrigation scheduling tools with Peter White of Soil Moisture Sense.
 
 In the morning, the keynote speakers will be AHDB chief scientist Professor Ian Crute and AHDB Potatoes sector director Dr Rob Clayton, who will be looking at challenges resulting from climate change and sustainability of the potato industry respectively. 
 
 “It is important for growers to understand the language being used by retailers and policy makers and to decide whether practical actions need to be taken at farm level,” says Dr Clayton.
 
Additionally, there will be opportunities for networking and viewing a large array of the latest machinery from manufacturers such as Grimme, Standen and George Moate.
 
 
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